After #RedForEd, Arizona teachers plan protest
Teachers across Arizona participated in the #RedForEd movement that protested low wages for teachers.
Wednesday's #RedForEd protest started with a group of teachers banding together on social media and ended as arguably the largest demonstration of unity among Arizona educators in recent history.
Friday, teachers flooded social media listing their priorities for change, and tagging #RedForEd and Gov. Doug Ducey. Common themes included higher pay, smaller class sizes, qualified teachers and more resources.
Organizers who don't want to let that momentum fade are stepping it up from making a peaceful statement to gathering in person to protest.
The "Day of Action for Education" will draw current and retired teachers, school staff, parents and business leaders to the state Capitol and other locations across the state from 4 to 7 p.m. March 28, conveniently after school hours.
'We're not going away'
The organizers are Save Our Schools Arizona, a mostly grassroots group of parents and public education advocates, and Arizona Educators United, the grassroots group that formed on Facebook and organized #RedForEd.The Facebook page has drawn 26,000 members since it was created Sunday.
"Increasingly, folks are paying attention to the plight of teachers and the education-funding crisis and Wednesday’s statewide social media action made that very clear," Dawn Penich-Thacker, spokeswoman for Save Our Schools Arizona told The Arizona Republic. "We wanted to kind of take that enthusiasm and frustration and make it 3D."
The protest will be "in front of the lawmakers who we feel have put us as a state in this situation," she said. "This problem isn’t going away, so we're not going away."
Gov. Doug Ducey said investment in teacher salaries has increased 9 percent since 2015. Is he right? AZ Fact Check takes a look.
A possible strike?
Although many are discussing the possibility of a teachers' strike, saying they've been galvanized by the nine-day strike in West Virginia that led legislators to commit to boosting by 5 percent, Penich-Thacker said there are no plans to strike a this point.
"If something else happens then we’ll still all be at the Capitol that afternoon, so we kind of chose the afternoon either way regardless of what happens," she said.
Republic reporter Ricardo Cano contributed to this story.
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